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How many parents do you need to make a baby?

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This "three-parent IVF" technique developed at Newcastle University involves the transfer of human genetic material between two fertilised eggs. This, potentially, would provide couples at risk of passing on serious inherited disorders (mitochondrial diseases) a way to have a healthy child. Mitochondria are found in every cell in the human body and provide the energy that cells need to function.

There are ethical concerns. Mitochondrial DNA is only passed down the female line, and is not present in the nucleus of a fertilised human egg so it is possible to extract the nucleus and transplant it into a second, donor egg. The three parent part is causing concern.

David King, head of Human Genetics Alert, said: "The more you manipulate embryos, the more risk there is."

The HFEA panel is set to submit its report to the government next month. At this time the legislation is not in place to allow this treatment.

Patricia Wakeford - Solicitor

Clinical Negligence Team

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